Funny the way 2011 has, for a vocal coterie of Minnesota Twins fans, come to define Joe Mauer, as if the previous seven seasons had never existed. As if the first half of 2012 had never happened.

For some, Mauer isn't so much a local hero anymore; he's just another overpaid, pampered athlete.

How else can one explain the odd social media backlash when Mauer was named to the American League all-star team on June 30? Already a three-time AL batting champion and the 2009 AL MVP, he leads AL catchers with a .326 batting average and .419 on-base percentage, is tied with Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski for the best OPS (.865) and ranks third in runs batted in (44) and slugging percentage (.449).

He also has played in 77 of his team's 86 games, and though only 38 have been as the catcher, his total games ranks second to only Philadelphia's Carlos Ruiz (78) among all major league backstops.

"He's still a state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line catcher," Oakland manager and AL all-star coach Bob Melvin said.